Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pastor Faces Execution

Please take a few minutes to read the Focus on the Family article regarding the Iranian Christian Pastor who is facing execution due to his faith.  It saddens me to the core that this man of God might be executed because of his love for Jesus!  Please make it a point to pray for him daily.  And also be thankful that we can exercise our faith somewhat freely in the United States!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saving Souls

I read this last night, and it stuck with me.

"One cannot save and then pitchfork souls into heaven . . . souls are more or less securely fasted to bodies . . . and as you cannot get the souls out and deal with them separately, you have to take them both together."

- Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

God Gets Us Through The Black Hole

I know that I, personally, have had many black hole times in my life.  But God was/is faithful, and He got me through them--something that I need to remember when I feel like I am stuck in a rut.  Instead of having a pity party, ask the Holy Spirit for help!  I tend to get caught up in my problems that I forget how easy it is to ask the Holy Spirit to help me through it.

"Today's Prayer
Dear Father in Heaven, I sing praise to you this morning. You have carried me through another year. You have blessed me and taken care of me. You have comforted me and guided me. You are my ever-present help. I praise you, God, from whom all blessings flow. I praise you above all heavenly hosts. I praise you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are the greatest. You are magnificent. You are worthy. I love you. In the name of Jesus I offer this praise, amen.

..."My grace is sufficient for you...." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

If you are older than 35, you may recall the early days of the space program. I remember the early spacecraft launch with John Glenn. One of the most exciting and tense moments of his return to earth was his reentry to the earth's atmosphere. I recall the diagram on television of the heat shield on the capsule that had to withstand incredible temperatures to avoid complete destruction. There was a blackout period for several minutes in which mission control had no radio contact. He was in the "black hole." It was a tense time. Either he would make it through, or the spacecraft would burn up in the atmosphere. There were several minutes of silence that seemed like an eternity. Then, mission control shouted with joy when they reestablished contact with the spacecraft. It was a time of rejoicing.

Have you ever had a time when you were in a spiritual black hole in your life? I have. The pressure was unbearable. No sense of God's presence. No sense of anything going on around me. God was about as far away as the man in the moon - at least from my perspective. I think every Christian who is called to make a significant difference in his world experiences times like these. These are the times when we question the reality of God, the love of God, the personal care of God. And He demonstrates to us that He was there all the time. These are "faith experiences" that God does in every person who is called to a higher level of relationship with Him. These times are needful in order to know that we have the "heat shield" that can withstand the incredible heat that comes when we follow Him with a whole heart - a heart that is radical in a commitment to fully follow His ways. Elisha had that spirit. He slaughtered his 12 oxen and burned his plowing equipment so that he would not have the opportunity to return to anything if God didn't come through (see 1 Kings 19:21).

The apostle Paul asked God to remove the heat from his own life one time. God's answer was not what he wanted to hear.

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP)

How's your heat shield today? Can it withstand the heat that would want to burn up everything in your life not based in Him? Christ said, "My grace is sufficient." Is that really true in your life? Let His grace be your shield today." 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Improve Blood Sugar

Personally, I have low blood sugar, and diabetes runs in my family.  So, I found the article below informative and helpful to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

"Barley Fiber Improves Blood Sugar Control

Fiber is known to be one of the most important dietary factors for healthy blood sugar regulation and diabetes prevention. A recent study in Nutrition and Metabolism supports this, finding that a drink made with a soluble fiber derived from barley, called barley beta-glucan, improved the body’s responsiveness to insulin and improved blood sugar control in people with mildly elevated blood glucose levels.

Fifty overweight or obese adults who had high blood glucose levels but did not meet the criteria for type 2 diabetes participated in the new study. They were coached in therapeutic lifestyle changes with a goal of weight maintenance, and were assigned to receive flavored drinks providing 6 grams per day of barley beta-glucan, 3 grams per day of barley beta glucan, or placebo for 12 weeks. Barley beta-glucan better for blood sugar

At the end of the trial, the people taking the barley beta-glucan drinks appeared to have better blood sugar control and improved insulin sensitivity compared to placebo:
  • Fasting insulin levels, which tell us how much insulin is circulating in the blood when the body is not responding to an after-meal blood sugar rise, decreased in the group receiving the higher dose of barley beta glucan, were approximately stable in the lower dose group, and increased in the placebo group. High fasting insulin levels are a hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
  • Calculated scores used to estimate how well the body responds to insulin suggested that insulin sensitivity improved in people in the higher-dose barley beta-glucan group and stayed virtually unchanged in the lower-dose group, but worsened in the placebo group.
  • Results from the oral glucose tolerance test suggested that only the barley beta-glucan drinking groups had better blood sugar control at the end of the trial.
“This study suggests barley beta-glucan may slow the deterioration of insulin sensitivity for individuals at increased risk for diabetes mellitus,” the study’s authors said.

Beta-glucan and good health

Beta-glucan is found in foods like mushrooms, oats, yeast, and barley, but the exact structure of the beta-glucan molecule depends on its source. In other words, the beta-glucan found in oats and barley is different from the beta-glucan from mushrooms and yeast, which explains why it appears to have different properties in the body.

Previous studies have shown that beta-glucan from oats, oat bran, barley, and barley bran lowers cholesterol levels. The results from the current study add to other evidence that this same beta-glucan might help people regulate their blood sugar more effectively and prevent type 2 diabetes.

The many shapes of barley

Here are some of the forms of barley you can add to your diet:
  • Hulled barley. The whole, unrefined form of barley, also known as barley groats, is chewy and most nutritious. It can be used in soups or instead of rice under cooked vegetables.
  • Barley grits. Grits are made from hulled barley that is toasted and cracked.
  • Pot barley. Sometimes referred to as Scotch barley, this form of the grain is less refined and maintains more nutritional value than pearl barley.
  • Pearl barley. This is the most commonly eaten form of barley. Pearling is achieved through polishing off the outer hull, leaving a less hearty but still fairly nutritious grain.
  • Rolled barley flakes. Barley flakes maintain much of the grain’s soluble fiber. They resemble rolled oats and are usually eaten as a hot breakfast cereal.
  • Barley flour. Barley contains less gluten than wheat so doesn’t always work in bread recipes. It is a good wheat flour substitute in recipes that don’t depend on yeast for rising, like quick breads and pancakes.
  • Barley bran supplements. These supplements are as much as 60% beta-glucan."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spreading the Good News

"Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel." - Ephesians 6:19

I pray that I live and breathe this particular verse. Won't you make it your prayer as well?